James switched his career in business for a future in child nursing

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James Paul is studying child nursing at the University. He wants to be able to give back to others after spending his life as an outpatient. For the Year of the Nurse, James talks about what it’s like being a mature student studying a nursing degree.

Why did you decide to study child nursing?

Since my early twenties, I wanted to become a child nurse. I’ve spent my life as an outpatient, so hospital settings feel like a familiar and safe environment. Furthermore, I feel inspired by the care that I and others have received from nurses and doctors alike, which is why I would like to give back to others.

As a mature student, how did you feel before starting your undergraduate degree?

There were many worries when starting the course but oddly being mature wasn't one of them. My thoughts were more about, how will I cope financially? Can I do it? Will I fit in? Will I be the only male on the course? On reflection, these apprehensions are no different to any student's starting university. My cohort has been fantastic; everyone wants to become a children's nurse, we discuss any concerns, and we provide each other with much-needed support and guidance. Also, yes, I am the only male student studying the course!

Why did you want to change your career?

I knew leaving my job would be a life-changing decision. Although I enjoyed my role, I longed to become a children's nurse. I felt if I didn't take the leap, I would never become a nurse. I had to seize the moment and make my dream become a reality. Only champions take chances as they say! Since starting my degree, I’ve had fantastic support from friends, family and even my previous employer who kept me on part-time while I studied the access course.

Where did you work before starting the course?

My work life, before my course, was based in sales, marketing and customer service for companies that are leaders in their fields. During my A-Level studies, I started work at Pizza Hut in the kitchen before becoming a shift manager. After a few years, I moved to Bearmach Ltd, where I spent ten years in the sales and marketing team selling Land Rover parts and accessories to account customers across the UK. I then moved to a composite door manufacturer called IG Doors, working with the trade sales team selling the Truedor brand.

What has been your biggest challenge on the course?

Other than COVID, it's been the confidence I have in my ability to become a nurse. There are so many skills to learn while understanding the different concepts and outlooks that affect the nursing profession. The support from course tutors and cohort has been invaluable in rising to challenges.

How have you found the nursing course?

The course has been great so far. I’ve learnt so much and have seen what we’ve learned in the classroom in the workplace. The interlink between theory and practice is second to none. My message to any mature students about to start the course is, you're doing something that you've wanted to do. It takes courage and passion being a mature student so, enjoy the experience and take the chance you created for yourself.